Living in a World of Nation States

World Social Sciences and Humanities Network Conference

Since the de-colonisation of the world the world has become a world of nation states, and since the Soviet Union and China abolished their alternative society and economy systems, the world is a world of nation states and of capitalism. The world of nation states and capitalism has received massive criticism, both in the political as in the scientific discourses. However, until now, critical discourses about the world, may these be political discourses or discourses in the social sciences, not only widely focused on the critique of the world’s economy, capitalism, the economy of the „modern“ society system, and widely left the nation state as an object of substantial criticism aside, though the nation states are the only subjects in this world which thanks to their power monopole have the power to decide what is politically and economically going on in this world, not only in the sphere of politics and in the world’s societies, but also in the world’s market economies. To just give two examples for a critical discourses, which oppose the capitalist economy and, via a complaint, advocate the nation state: If, for example, the world’s poverty is discussed, poverty is usually presented as a matter of capitalism, today preferable of „neo-liberalism“, probably a bad variation of capitalism, and the nation states, who decide not only about the rules of the world’s economy and who are themselves a most relevant global economic player, if at all critically discussed in the context of poverty are addressed, never for causing poverty, but for failing to solve the problems of poverty, which in these considerations may have numerous reasons, but never results from the politics of the world’s nation states. Since the existence of a world of nation states, poverty exists and is notably growing across the world and the nation states are since then discussed as continuously failing to combat poverty, thus presuming that this was their mission. Thus, it is excluded from these discourses that poverty could be an intended achievement of nation state policies, though numerous examplesalong the history of the global reign of nation states show that the political creation of poverty is a means for the political stimulation economic growth, rather than a political failure. Policy measures making the nation states’ societies attractive for the “global investors” are telling the opposite of what the debates discussing the nation states as failing to combat poverty want to believe. Politics making people poor is the major means to simulate economic growth and this is not only the case in a country in which the economy collapsed, but anywhere in the world to attract the global capital. If the world’s wars are discussed, the nation states, who are the only subjects deciding about and carrying out wars, there are all sorts of subjects, preferably the „military industrial complex“, or similar economic alliances, who manipulate the political leaders towards aggressive politics. Or there are the political leaders of any enemy state, who misuse the nation state’s military power, nation states seemingly only have to never use it, except for such cases if nation states are forced to wars to defend peace among the world’s nation states. Thus, in these discourses about wars in one or the other ways nation states make wars, nation states never want to make. In more recent scientific discourses about the global capitalism the nation state is even discussed as –another-victim of capitalism. Arguing that the nation states across the world fail to reject the attempts of capitalism to misuse the nation state for capitalist purposes and to deviate from its original mission to serve its citizens or –alternatively and more recently –for losing its political power, if not its existence under the global regime of capitalism, these discourses present the nation state as a means to protect the world’s people against a world ruled by capitalists and their economic objectives and never consider the nation state as a responsible subject, the maker or at least co-maker of what this critique opposes. As a result, the most powerful subjects in the world, the nation states are presented rather as a mere object, if not a victim, of the market economy, not as a subject that rules the world of nation states and that could be critiqued as a subject making the very world this critique opposes. The new conference series “Living in a world of nation states” aims at critically discussing the existing scientific knowledge and at going beyond this knowledge about what it means to live in a world of nation states and therefore focuses its reflections and debates on the following topics:

  1. Living in a nation state society
  • What is a citizen?
  • Freedom and equality, living in a society of private subjects
  • the economic basis of citizen’s life, making money
  • citizen’s life careers (families, childhood, education, jobs)
  • working for money
  • the labour market,
  • unemployment
  • citizen’s health
  • citizen’s aging
  • Being a national citizen, nationalism
  • social sciences’ theories about the nation state society

2. The citizen and the political power of the nation state

  • living under the law
  • the political citizen
  • lawful political power, power and law, power instruments
  • human rights-morality of citizenship-protection of private properties
  • democracy, elections
  • political parties
  • trade unions
  • freedom of speech
  • the public opinion, media
  • social, human and natural sciences
  • social sciences’ theories about the nation state politics and power

3. Political economics of the nation state’s political power

  • Objectives of nation state’s economics and the market economy
  • The “welfare” state
  • Labour market politics
  • National currencies, the national citizen society and the market economy
  • Financing the nation state, tax and credit
  • The nation state, ruling the national and international market economy,
  • national currencies and credit politics, national banks and the global market
  • nation state economic politics and the international financial market
  • economic theories

4. Nation states in a world of states and a global market economy

  • and their citizens
  • Nation states and their societies in a world of nation states, the global market economy and their global „investors“ and the nation state’s people
  • The world of nation states consisting of different political and economic powers-Imperialism, de-colonialisation,
  • The national citizen societies, the global market economy and the different nation states-National currencies, credit politics and the global financial market
  • The world’s people as nationals,
  • Military power and war
  • Theories about imperialism and war

Contact:

antonio.dores(at)iscte-iul(dot)pt

michaelkuhn(at)knowwhy(dot)net

Further Information (PDF)